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Bhagavad Gita Chapter Thirteen: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field

The Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God
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Arjuna said:

Prakriti and Purusha, the Field and the Knower of the Field, knowledge, and that which should be known–I wish to know this, O Krishna.*

The Holy Lord said:

This body is called the Field, and he who knows this is called the Knower of the Field–so say the knowers of these things. (13:1)

And know me also to be the Knower of the Field in all fields. The knowledge of the Field and the Knower of the Field I consider to be the knowledge. (13:2)

The Field–what it is and of what kind, what its modifications are, whence they come and what are the Knower’s powers, that hear from me in brief. (13:3)

This has been sung many times by the rishis in many sacred chants, in passages about Brahman, full of convincing reasoning. (13:4)

The great elements, the consciousness of “I,” intellect and the unmanifest, the ten senses and one, and the five fields of actions of the senses, (13:5)

Desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, the whole organism, consciousness, stability–thus is the Field briefly described, and its aspects. (13:6)

Absence of pride, freedom from hypocrisy, harmlessness, fortitude, rectitude, approaching a teacher, purity, constancy and self-control, (13:7)

Detachment from the objects of sense, absence of egotism, keeping in mind the evils of birth, death, old age, disease, and pain, (13:8)

Non-attachment, absence of clinging to son, wife, home and suchlike; constant even-mindedness in desired and undesired events, (13:9)

Unswerving devotion to me with single-minded yoga, living in secluded places, having distaste for association with many people, (13:10)

Establishment in the knowledge of the Supreme Self, keeping in mind the goal of knowledge of the truth–this is said to be true knowledge. The contrary is ignorance. (13:11)

I shall explain that which must be known, knowing which one attains immortality: the beginningless, Supreme Brahman which is said to be neither existent nor non-existent. (13:12)

With hands and feet everywhere, eyes, heads and faces everywhere, with ears throughout the universe–THAT stands, enveloping everything. (13:13)

Having the appearance of all the qualities of the senses, yet free of all the senses, unattached yet maintaining all, free from the gunas, yet experiencing the gunas, (13:14)

Outside and inside beings–the animate and the inanimate–incomprehensible because of its subtlety, far away and also near, (13:15)

Undivided, yet remaining as if divided in beings, this is to be known as the sustainer of beings, their absorber and generator. (13:16)

Also this is said to be the light of lights, beyond all darkness; knowledge, the to-be-known, the goal of knowledge seated in the heart of all. (13:17)

Thus Field, knowledge and that which must be known have been briefly stated. Comprehending all this, my devotee approaches my state of being. (13:18)

Know that both Prakriti and Purusha are beginningless; and know that the modifications and the gunas arise from Prakriti. (13:19)

Prakriti is declared to be the cause of that which is to be done, the instrument and the doer. The Purusha is declared to be the cause in the experiencing of pleasure and pain. (13:20)

The Purusha abiding in Prakriti experiences the gunas of Prakriti; attachment to the gunas is the cause of its birth in good and evil wombs. (13:21)

The Supreme Spirit in this body is called the witness and the consenter, the supporter, the experiencer, the Great Lord, and also the Supreme Self. (13:22)

He who thus knows the Purusha and Prakriti along with the gunas, whatever be his state of evolution, he shall never be born again. (13:23)

Some perceive the Self in the Self by the Self through meditation, others by Sankhya yoga, and still others by karma yoga. (13:24)

Others, also, not knowing thus yet hearing from others, worship. They also cross beyond death, devoted to what they have heard. (13:25)

Know this: whatever is born, the animate or the inanimate, know it to be resulting from the union of the Field and the Knower of the Field. (13:26)

He who sees the Supreme Lord existing in all beings equally, not dying when they die–he sees truly. (13:27)

Truly seeing the same Lord existing everywhere, he injures not the Self by the lower self. Then he goes to the Supreme Goal. (13:28)

He who himself sees thus: that all actions are performed exclusively by Prakriti, and perceives that therefore he is himself not the doer–he sees truly. (13:29)

When he perceives the various states of being as resting in the One, and their expansion from that One alone–he then attains Brahman. (13:30)

This eternal Supreme Self, without beginning and devoid of gunas, even though dwelling in the body, does not act, nor is it tainted. (13:31)

As the all-pervading ether because of its subtlety is not tainted, so the Self seated in the body is not tainted at any time in any situation. (13:32)

As the sun alone illumines this entire world, so the Lord of the field illumines the entire field. (13:33)

Those who know through the eye of knowledge the distinction between the Field and the Knower of the Field, and the liberation of beings from Prakriti–they go to the Supreme (the Highest). (13:34)

* “In some of the books you will not find this verse. If you include this verse also, the number of verses of the Bhagavad Gita will come to 701. Some commentators look upon this verse as an interpolation” (Swami Sivananda in his Gita commentary). “This first unnumbered stanza does not occur in all versions. It may have been deleted in order to make the total number of verses an even seven hundred” (Winthrop Sargeant in his translation of the Gita).

Om Tat Sat

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the thirteenth discourse entitled: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field.

Read Chapter Fourteen: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas

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Chapters for The Bhagavad Gita–The Song of God

Introduction: The Bhagavad Gita–The Book of Life

  1. Bhagavad Gita Chapter One: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga
  3. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Three: The Yoga of Action
  4. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Four: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Five: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Six: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seven: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eight: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Nine: The Yoga of the Royal Science and Royal Secret
  10. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Ten: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eleven: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Twelve: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Thirteen: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fourteen: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fifteen: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Sixteen: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demonic
  17. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seventeen: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eighteen: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Also: The Bhagavad Gita Arranged for Singing

  1. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 1: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 2: Sankhya Yoga
  3. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 3: The Yoga of Action
  4. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 4: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 5: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 7: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 8: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 9: The Yoga of the Kingly Science and Kingly Secret
  10. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 10: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 11: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 12: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 13: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 14: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 16: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demoniacal
  17. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 17: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Read about the meanings of unfamiliar terms in A Brief Sanskrit Glossary

Read the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening, a full commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).

Visit our e-library page for Free Downloads of this and other ebooks in various formats.

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